Greek Unemployment Remains Startlingly High

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Unemployment in Greece continues to nudge higher even amid talks of a recovery setting in for the country, Reuters reports. According to the official data provided by Greece’s statistics office, the unemployment rate for September of 2013 was 27.4 percent, a slight increase from the previous two months’ value of 27.3 percent. This is up nearly 1.5 percent on an annual basis, though a bit below the record highs that were recorded this May.

Many seeing the data have chosen to view it in a positive light, saying that it represents a stabilization in unemployment rates more than anything else. Chalking up the slight increase to extraneous factors, they instead focus on the fact that the jobless rate appears to have plateaued over the course of the past few months. This would indicate that Greece has reached a sort of steady state from, which it can then prepare to make adjustments as the economy recovers. However, there is still contention over whether the Greek economy will return to growth in 2014 or whether it will continue to stay in the red.

Diving deeper into the statistics does reveal some trends that support the optimistic point of view. While the number of unemployed increased from August to September of this year, so did the number of employed. This means that, while more people are out of work and looking for jobs, there are also more people who have jobs. The economically inactive, people who do not have a job and who are not looking for work, is a group that decreased in size both on a monthly basis and an annual level this past September in Greece. This is good news because it indicates that at least some Greeks are trying to get back to work.

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